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Ashton, Sir Frederick William Mallandaine (1904–1988), choreographer and director, was born on 17 September 1904 in Guayaquil, Ecuador, the fourth of the five children of George Ashton (1864–1924) and his second wife, Georgiana (1869–1939), daughter of Henry Fulcher and his wife, Edith. His father was manager of the ...

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Sir Frederick William Mallandaine Ashton (1904–1988) by Baron, c. 1945 Getty Images – Baron

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Bradley, Robert [Buddy] (1908–1972), choreographer, was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on 24 July 1908, the son of Robert Louis Bradley and his wife, Georgia Marguerite, née Walker. He was educated at Harrisburg high school, and on leaving school was apprenticed as a sign writer. He made his stage début as a dancer in 1926 at the ...

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Robert Bradley (1908–1972) by unknown photographer, 1934 [centre, in the musical Evergreen] Getty Images

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Cranko, John Cyril (1927–1973), ballet dancer and choreographer, was born on 15 August 1927 in Rustenburg, about 60 miles from Johannesburg, South Africa, the only child of Herbert Cranko, a lawyer who later went on to practise in Johannesburg itself, and his wife, ...

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John Cyril Cranko (1927–1973) by Sir Cecil Beaton, 1956 © Cecil Beaton Archive, Sotheby's; collection National Portrait Gallery, London

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Dixey, Phyllis Selina (1914–1964), variety and striptease artiste, was born on 10 February 1914 at 330 Kingston Road, Merton, Surrey, the second child of Ernest Dixey (1891–1972), ship's steward and later railway attendant, from Sevenoaks, Kent, and his wife, (Phyllis) Selina (1891–1978), daughter of ...

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Phyllis Selina Dixey (1914–1964) by unknown photographer, 1940 © Getty Images

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Franca, Celia [real name Nita Celia Franks] (1921–2007), ballet dancer, choreographer, and ballet director, was born on 25 June 1921 at 57 Nicholas Street, Mile End, London, the daughter of Solomon Franks, boot salesman, later ladies' outfitter, and his wife, Gertie, née...

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Celia Franca (1921–2007) by Janine, 1960 courtesy of the National Ballet of Canada archives

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Gopal, (Bissano) Ram (1912?–2003), Indian classical dancer, was born, probably on 20 November 1912, in Bangalore, India, the son of a Rajput lawyer and his Burmese wife. Being a cantonment town, Bangalore had a considerable British and Anglo-Indian presence. Gopal's autobiography, Rhythm in the Heavens...

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See Hinton, Paula Doris

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Grant, Alexander Marshall (1925–2011), dancer and ballet director, was born on 22 February 1925 in Wellington, New Zealand, the elder son of Alexander Grant, hotelier, and his wife, Eleather. He was educated at Wellington College. From the age of seven he had dancing lessons from local teachers, ...

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Jooss, Kurt (1901–1979), choreographer and teacher of dance, was born on 12 January 1901, in Wasseralfingen, a suburb of Stuttgart, Germany. His father owned a farm, but as a child Jooss felt vague inclinations toward several arts. While studying at the Stuttgart Academy of Music...

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L'Abbé, Anthony (b. 1666/7, d. in or after 1753), choreographer and dancing-master, about whose birth and parentage nothing is known, joined the Académie Royale de Musique in Paris as a dancer in 1688, at the age of twenty-one. He left in 1698 when ...

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Lanner [married name Geraldini], Katharina Josefa [Katti] (1829–1908), dancer and choreographer, was born in the parish of Laimgrube, Vienna, Austria, on 14 September 1829, one of the two daughters of Josef Lanner (1801–1843), a violinist and waltz composer, and his wife, Franciska, ...

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Sir Kenneth MacMillan (1929–1992) by Yolanda Sonnabend, 1988 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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MacMillan, Sir Kenneth (1929–1992), choreographer, was born on 11 December 1929 at Dunfermline, Fife, the youngest of five children (one of whom died in infancy) of William MacMillan (1891–1946), labourer and cook, and his wife, Edith (1888–1942), daughter of George Shreeve, of Ormesby...

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Meyer, Laverne Ignatius Henry (1935–2008), dancer and choreographer, was born on 1 February 1935, in Guelph, Ontario, Canada, one of seven children of Lincoln Meyer, farmer, and his wife, Cora, née Voll. A childhood enthusiasm for dancing from watching films starring Fred Astaire...

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Morrice, Norman Alexander (1931–2008), choreographer and ballet director, was born on 10 September 1931 in Agua Dulce, Mexico, the younger child of British parents, his father being an oil engineer. Brought up from the age of six by his grandmother at Aboyne, Scotland...